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Toromont Industries posts 31% growth in Q4 net profit; boost dividend 8%

TORONTO - Toromont Industries Ltd. (TSX:TIH) is boosting its dividend by eight per cent after the heavy equipment dealer and industrial refrigeration company reported a 31 per cent increase in fourth-quarter profits.

"We are very pleased with our results for the quarter and year," president and chief executive Scott Medhurst said in announcing the company's earnings on Monday.

"Revenues from equipment, product support and rentals were at record levels for the full year and were at or near record levels for the quarter," Medhurst added.

The Toronto-based Toromont said net income in the three months ended Dec. 31 was $44.9 million or 59 cents per share. That was up from $34.2 million or 44 cents per share in the same prior-year period.

Revenues rose six per cent to $431.1 million from $408.4 million.

For the full year, revenue was $1.51 billion, up nine per cent from $1.38 billion in 2011.

However, net profit fell to $120.6 million or $1.57 per share, a decline of 51 per cent compared with net earnings of $246.5 million or $3.20 per share the previous year when Toromont posted a gain from discontinued operations of $133.2 million, equivalent to $1.73 per share.

Toromont said the increase in net earnings in Q4 reflected strong growth in product support, rental activities and improved margins due to sales mix. The same factors were behind the 17 per cent increase in net earnings from continuing operations for the full year, along with higher new equipment deliveries.

The company said it would increase its quarterly dividend to a penny to 13 cents per share, payable April 1 to shareholders of record on March 13.

Toromont Industries Ltd. operates the Equipment Group, a large Caterpillar dealership, as well as rental operations, and CIMCO, which designs, engineers, fabricates and installs industrial and recreational refrigeration systems.

On the Toronto Stock Exchange, the company's shares were up 18 cents at $21.92 in early afternoon trading Monday.